Meet Norse Atlantic Airways, a New Low-Cost Transatlantic Airline

Wait a minute...this sounds familiar

Passenger jet descending
SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

World, meet Norse Atlantic Airways, a brand new Norwegian airline offering low-cost transatlantic flights with a fleet of red-nosed Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Experiencing déjà vu? Well, that's probably because you've seen this all happen before. Norse Atlantic Airways is a phoenix rising from the ashes of Norwegian Air Shuttle's famous budget-friendly long-haul program, which ended earlier this year.

Both airlines were founded by Bjørn Kjos, who stepped down as Norwegian's CEO two years ago. Even before the pandemic, Norwegian struggled to turn a profit—traditionally, low-cost, long-haul carriers struggle with cash, somewhat predictably. But Kjos and his partners, Bjørn Tore Larsen and Bjørn Kise, are hoping for success this time around, likely learning from Norwegian's shortcomings over the past few years.

The airlines' similarities don't end at their routes and their founder: Norse Atlantic plans on leasing some planes from Norwegian's former long-haul fleet, which have been sitting in storage since international air travel halted last year.

While launching a new airline during the pandemic is a long shot, Kjos certainly has the experience to do it. "Timing is incredibly important, and we believe it has never been better," Kjos told Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, which broke the news. "This is the one opportunity to get in and take over a market position and get much cheaper flights than otherwise. This makes the economy different, and we can establish ourselves at low cost when people on both sides of the Atlantic have been vaccinated and start traveling again."

Norse Atlantic isn't the only low-cost airline attempting to take off this year. Flyr, which is also based in Norway, is seeking permission to start up its European routes, while in the United States, Breeze is making headway towards a late 2021 launch.